We recently conducted an email interview with Serial Killin’ Records’ Texas Microphone Massacre. In it we talk about their evolution as a band, their opinion on Juggalos, their influences and more. Peep it out below!
FLH: First of all I want to thank you for taking the time to sit and give our fans and readers this opportunity to get to know you. It’s a pleasure to help open other people’s eyes to your wonderful music.. I would also like to mention that this interview was collaborated upon by a very good friend and colleague of mine, Jay Quinn aka The Krimson Jester [Shootin’ Tha Mainstream], who has been a longtime supporter of Serial Killin’ Records as well.
TMM: Thank you guys very much for the opportunity! We really appreciate it.
FLH: I guess to get right into this, for those who are unfamiliar, can you explain who Texas Microphone Massacre is and how you all came together?
TMM: TMM is
Chris V: Vocals
Tim G: Production
We’ve all been around the Austin scene for a number of years. One of Chris and Heath’s mutual projects was a hip hop act that made a little noise around town. After the members of the group went their separate musical ways, the third MC for the project passed away. Chris and Heath decided to do a track together in honor of him. During that recording session, they discussed making an often-discussed electronic project a reality. A few days later, Heath called Chris to come over and drop vocals on Dread of May, and the first TMM track became a reality.
At the time, Chris was in a rock project with Gil. During one particular songwriting session, a guitar was needed, so Gil was conscripted. All three members had worked with Tim in their respective pasts. Tim was approached to bring the band’s first album, Fantasy Rolodex, to the finish line from a production aspect. From there, Tim became involved as a full member.
FLH: You guys gave done everything independently, has it been a difficult road? For example you’ve had radio play, was that tough to achieve without representation?
TMM: It’s been the most rewardingly difficult challenge of our lives.
An indie band getting airplay on commercial radio is a lot about being in the right place at the right time. However, it takes an assload of hard work to make sure that you’re front row and center at the place when the time is right. We managed to get our music in front of some really awesome djs. They listened, they liked, and they played us.
FLH: Your sound is incredibly unique, what genre would you classify yourselves as?
TMM: We’re billed as electrorock, but we don’t really like to put labels on things. We all come from different backgrounds, and everyone has an equal voice which is then reflected in what we make.
FLH: I’ve been trying to come up with a good comparison to your sound, so far the best I could do is, vocally you sound like a cross between Zug Izland’s Syn and new-school Ozzy Osbourne with a hint of Corey Taylor on the heavier parts. Instrumentally, I’m still at a loss.. How would you best describe your sound, and who would you say you sound most like?
TMM: A recent newspaper article about us said we sounded like “Radiohead had a baby with Black Sabbath”. We think that’s pretty cool.
We like big drums, big synths, big riffs, and big vocals mixed together to talk about the ladies. That’s what we do. Our apartments smell of rich mahogany.
FLH: What is your writing process like? Do you guys just get together and jam and see what emerges, or do you sit and write your parts specifically?
TMM: It’s a combination of both. Sometimes one guy will start with something, then pass it off, then that guy adds his shiny thing to it and passes it off and so on. Other times, things are more spontaneous. It’s cool because it’s really an interesting meld of organic and inorganic. We think that’s one of the things that makes our sound unique.
FLH: Your producer, Tim Gerron, has been Grammy-nominated. Can you explain how his influence has helped the group evolve?
TMM: Words cannot begin to articulate the value that Tim Gerron brings to TMM. We cannot say this enough. Tim doesn’t want us to write that, but it’s the truth. We all believe that iron sharpens iron, and we’ve each been blessed with one another’s fellowship. Everyone’s grown from being involved, Tim included, but his involvement has taken the project to where it is today.
FLH: Your new album, “Saturn’s In Retrograde,” is your second full length. How do you feel the band has progressed from “Fantasy Rolodex” and the “Lovers” EP?
TMM: We crystallized our process with Saturn’s in Retrograde. We believe that on this album, we communicate in complete sentences musically. Fantasy Rolodex was a little more eclectic. Not to say we aren’t proud of Fantasy Rolodex – it’s the document of the genesis of this project. Saturn’s in Retrograde represents the growth from that foundation.
FLH: How long did it take to write the new album, was is a process over time or did it just come together unexpectedly?
TMM: About 16 months. Of course, that’s with working full-time grown-ass-man jobs and raising families and paying mortgages and all that business. If we could do this full time, we’d churn out an album every 3 months.
FLH: What are each of your favorite songs from “Saturn’s In Retrograde?”
Chris: that’s like asking me to pick my favorite daughter – but Crickets is pretty tight
Gil: Nomine is my favorite. I like the constant build.
Heath: Saturn’s Rings. It’s honest to the point of being brutal.
Tim: Her Tongue. It exemplifies everything that this project does.
FLH: You guys recently secured a deal with underground label Serial Killin’ Records. Would you like to explain a little of that process, how you came to be on the SKR roster?
TMM: We’d collabed with SKR in the past – Faust, The Nothing, video work, etc. Having worked with Sick, we knew we liked the cut of his jib. When they were having the talent search, we submitted our material, and we were chosen along with Tapewerm, Majik Duce, and Reverend Fang Gory.
FLH: How do you feel you fit in with a label made up of mostly horrorcore hip hop artists? How do you feel the fans of SKR have received you?
TMM: We don’t fit in, and it doesn’t matter. Johnny Cash was on the same label as Slayer. Crosses are on the same label as Body Count. All the folks involved with SKR are the nicest people we’ve ever encountered in the industry. They’re great to be around – seriously, horrorcore artists are the sweetest people ever.
SKR fans are fucking awesome. They’ve received us with open arms and open minds and have been wildly supportive. Seriously, people we have never met before are rabid about what we do. That’s really fucking cool.
FLH: You do all of your production in-house, but do you have any plans to collaborate with any of the other artists on the label?
TMM: We’ve already done work with Sick and Raz, and we look forward to doing work with all the other members of the label, as well.
FLH: Who are some other artists you would like to tour and/or collaborate with?
TMM: Dream Scenarios: Crosses, The Faint, anything Mike Patton is involved with, Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode
We’re always open to collabs. Folks should hit us up.
FLH: You seem to take a lot of influence from the spiritual and metaphysical realm, would you care to talk about that a little bit?
TMM: That’s cool that you got that from our music. Ultimately, the point we’re trying to make is the point you get. Also, we don’t want to talk too much about the secret message coded within Saturn’s in Retrograde.
FLH: Who are some other artists or bands you draw influence from? Who do you listen to during your down time?
TMM: How much time you got?
Key Influences: David Bowie, Mike Patton, The Doors, Black Sabbath, Hank Williams, Brian Eno, Vince Clarke, Depeche Mode, Peter Gabriel, The Beatles, The Cure, The Faint, Public Enemy (the bomb squad’s production was ridiculous), Prince Paul – shit we could go on for hours
Between the four of us, we listen to everything under the sun. What we’re listening to right now:
Chris: Crosses – Crosses
Gil: The Rolling Stones – Big Hits, High Tide, and Green Grass
Heath: The Commodores – The Commodores
Tim: Bjork – Homogenic
FLH: Now most of our readers are Juggalos, so I feel I need to ask you, are you familiar with our scene? What are your opinions on Juggalos?
TMM: We’ve been familiar with ICP since the 90s.
Juggalos are the first “scene” to embrace TMM, and we love them for that.
FLH: Would you ever consider performing at a Juggalo event, perhaps even the Gathering?
TMM: Bet. We need 5 minutes for line check and we’re good to go.
FLH: You guys have made a lot of noise in Texas over the past few years, what would you say is the craziest/best show you ever played?
TMM: We should say The SXSW showcases or the United We Jam headline spot or something like that, but we still have fond memories of the first show we ever played at Loft710 in Austin. It was a really fun show.
FLH: What are your overall goals you hope to achieve as a group?
TMM: Wet Dream: We get to quit our day jobs and do this for a living
Realistic Goals: We die with a badass catalog of albums to our names
FLH: Do you have any future plans or anything coming up you’d like to talk about? Any tours or new albums in the works?
TMM: Right now, we’re working on videos for Cry Little Sister and Saturn’s Rings. We’re also back in the studio writing, and we’re gigging around Central Texas.
Last month, we released our video for Mask of the Red Death, the third part in our music video trilogy/zombie short film, “Famished”
FLH: Where can fans go to learn more about you and hear some of your music? ie: Facebook, Youtube, etc..
TMM: To get on our mailing list for FREE STUFF, email [email protected]
To buy Saturn’s in Retrograde:
http://bit.ly/tmmskrstore – The SKR Store
http://bit.ly/tmmcdbaby – CD Baby
http://bit.ly/tmmamazon – Amazon
http://bit.ly/tmmitunes – iTunes
FLH: I always like to ask towards the end of these, do you have any “words of wisdom” for the readers?
TMM: TMM loves you. TMM loves you the way Mr. Rogers loved you – just for being you.
FLH: Once again, I thank you for taking the time to sit and talk with us. Hopefully in the near future we can arrange for a phone or video interview. In closing, is there anything else you’d like to say, anything we didn’t touch upon?
TMM: Thanks again for the opportunity. We hope we gave you answers you can work with. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if there’s anything at all we can do at any time.